Personality Traits – Genetic or Learned?

Have you ever wondered whether your personality traits are learned or are they genetic? Something that has been on my mind recently, (and I have been talking to everyone who will listen to me about), is the concept of whether personality traits are genetic or “learned”. I had a discussion with my s/o about this and he brought up the great point that your brain creates neural pathways, and as a program runs that neural pathway over and over, it gets worn into your brain (this is proven scientific fact). In that instance, this could potentially create a personality trait because when your brain is presented with information, your brain will run its natural worn path. In MBTI, the letters are your preference indicators, meaning that you respond and react to certain information in one of two ways with each letter. I always thought that this was genetic (I am an INFJ and my mom and dad are INFJ and INTJ, respectively). But now I am wondering if this is a nature vs nurture question, or maybe a little of both. So, it is possible that you learn your preferences from your parents, and those that have opposite personality types from their parents could have learned that a certain trait was negative. For example, if someone has two extremely extroverted parents, and that child ended up seeing it as a negative trait. The child ends up pulling more into themselves, seeing how much their parents go out and how often they talk, and then it’s possible the extroverted parents created an introverted child. It’s just a thought, I’d love to hear what others have to say! Let me know what you think in the comments 😊

Also, for reference, the MBTI preference indicators are introvert vs. extrovert, intuitive vs. sensing, thinking vs. feeling and perceiving vs. judging.

2 thoughts on “Personality Traits – Genetic or Learned?

  1. Martha
    I believe strongly that are born with our MBTI. Some of them are much stronger elements in some individuals than in others. Mildly extroverted to extremely gregarious, for example. I believe our environment shapes how we develop in the world given the personality type we were born with. As for neurological paths, I agree. However, I believe that those paths will develop to accommodate and make the pathway best for those elements. For example-have you ever seen a very extroverted child around two introverted parents? They are constantly telling him to quiet down, to focus, to be more studious, to be more serious etc., but they can’t suppress or change his extroversion. As he gets older, depending on how his environment reacts to his basic nature, the neurons will develop along a path-he could become a politician, a salesman, a con artist, a corporate marketing giant ,or an angry destructive person-think of the avenues that could take. But he will always be an extrovert. Put him in an environment where he is unable to exercise any of these natural elements, he will not become an introvert-his neurological path will take him along the path that is the most evident to him as an extrovert in his environment
    You asked for my thoughts lol!! This is a stimulating blog. Thank you!

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  2. Somewhere on the internet, I ran across the theory that solitary people are a remnant of our hunter-gatherer days, when one person would be chosen to watch over the rest of the tribe while they slept. Those people became hardwired introverts. I really love this theory, although I’m not 100% sold on it. I think personality traits are one-third innate, and two-thirds a product of an individual’s upbringing and environment. My own introversion and love of solitary pursuits stems from me being the oddball in my family, naturally inclined to think in a weird way, and therefore learning to enjoy my own company. Very thought-provoking blog — thank you!

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